A woman from St Neots celebrated her 100th birthday today (August 6) and says she has no regrets and has had “a wonderful life”.
Joan Draper, from Eynesbury, celebrated with family and friends.
She also received a telegram from the Queen and says she feels incredibly lucky, reflecting on the happiest memories in her life. Joan said: “I love my two sons and one of my happiest memories is when my husband bought a caravan, at Happisburgh in Norfolk, we spent a lot of time there.”
Joan was married for 59 years to Jim Draper, who passed away when he was 79.
They met in a flower mill and brewery in St Neots called Paine & Co, which does not exist anymore.
Joan and Jim were the same age when they married, at the age of 20 and Joan had two sons John and Jim.
Her husband served in the RAF during the Second World War and travelled to many destinations including Burma, in South Asia.
Whilst Jim was serving in the RAF, Joan raised her two sons and also worked for a friend on a life farm.
When Joan’s sons had grown up, she worked at a fish and chip shop in St Neots and enjoyed working there.
Joan describes the saddest point in her life when her youngest son John passed away from Non-Hodkinson’s Lymphoma, she said: “That was my saddest memory, when John passed.”
She feels very blessed to have Jim, 80, from Lincoln, who can still visit her and she also has a carer that comes in to help her every morning and evening.
She had a cake, nibbles and balloons at her get together with her loved ones - but due to the pandemic she kept things low key.
Joan also reflected on the importance of leading a happy life, she said: “Enjoying yourself and spending time with loved ones is very important.
“I have had a wonderful life and I have been very lucky, especially not to suffer from Alzheimer’s at the age I have reached.